Music

Paper Lace – The Night Chicago Died

The Night Chicago Died” is a song by the British group Paper Lace, written by Peter Callander and Mitch Murray. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week in 1974, reached number 3 in the UK charts, and number 2 in Canada. It is about a fictional shoot-out in Chicago between gangsters tied to Al Capone and the Chicago Police. The narrator retells his mother’s anguish while awaiting news of the fate of her husband, a Chicago policeman. Paper Lace are a Nottingham-based pop group, formed in 1967. They are known to Americans as a one-hit wonder; however, in the UK they were a “classic two-and-a-half-hit wonder”. Wikipedia┬«.

Paper Lace – The Night Chicago Died (Live)

This song tells a story about the notorious gangster Al Capone and his men having a shootout out with the police. As you can see from the comments below, there is plenty of debate as to whether or not the story is true. Mitch Murray, who wrote the song, cleared this up when he sent us the following: I’d like to start by thanking your contributors for so many flattering comments regarding ‘The Night Chicago Died.’ As co-writer of this song, I feel qualified to settle some of the questions posed by those comments. My writing partner, Peter Callander, and I are both British and it’s true, we’d never been to Chicago at the time we wrote the song – many other parts of the USA, but not Chicago. Having been brought up on a tasty diet of American gangster movies, the term ‘East Side’ usually meant the seamy side of a city. Of course, looking back, it was used about New York, not Chicago. We (actually, I mostly blame Peter because he had the last words on lyrics while I had the last word on the tunes) were obviously a little careless with our research, as we were when we wrote about Al Capone fighting the ‘forces of the law’ – I really don’t think that ever happened; apparently, the cops were nearly all on Capone’s payroll. The song was certainly a work of fiction, and as such, perhaps we should have used fictional gangster names. Still, it’s hard to have regrets when your song is No 1 in the USA. Just to put the record straight, Paper Lace was the excellent group who recorded our song, but had nothing to do with the writing – that was our department, as was production of the record. Thank you all, once again, for your interest in ‘The Night Chicago Died’ Mitch Murray, London, England. (West Side of London). Songfacts┬«.

Paper Lace – The Night Chicago Died Lyrics:
The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace.
In the heat of a summer night.
In the land of the dollar bill.
When the town of Chicago died.
And they talk about it still.

When a man named Al Capone.
Tried to make that town his own.
And he called his gang to war.
With the forces of the law.

I heard my mama cry.
I heard her pray the night Chicago died.
Brother what a night it really was.
Brother what a fight it really was.
Glory be.

I heard my mama cry.
I heard her pray the night Chicago died.
Brother what a night the people saw.
Brother what a fight the people saw.
Yes indeed.

And the sound of the battle rang.
Through the streets of the old east side.
‘Til the last of the hoodlum gang.
Had surrendered up or died.

There was shouting in the street.
And the sound of running feet.
And I asked someone who said.
Bout a hundred cops are dead.

I heard my mama cry.
I heard her pray the night Chicago died.
Brother what a night it really was.
Brother what a fight it really was.
Glory be!

I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died.
Brother what a night the people saw.
Brother what a fight the people saw.
Yes indeed.

And ther was no sound at all.
But the clock upon the wall.
Then the door burst open wide.
And my daddy stepped inside.
And he kissed my mama’s face.
And he brushed her tears away.

The night Chicago died.
The night Chicago died.
Brother what a night the people saw.
Brother what a fight the people saw.
Yes indeed.

The night Chicago died.
The night Chicago died.
Brother what a night it really was.
Brother what a fight it really was.
Glory be.

The night Chicago died.
The night Chicago died.
Brother what a night the people saw.
Brother what a fight the people saw.
Yes indeed.

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